Meet Gill! This 9-week-old French bulldog is my new “grand-dog,” “son” of my daughter Rebecca and her boyfriend, Ryan. Rebecca loves to kayak and Ryan is an avid fisherman, so this pup needs to learn to enjoy the water as much as the rest of his family. Frenchies are not built for swimming, so a life vest awaited this little guy his first day home.
While Gill had dabbled his toes in and played around the edges of the pond at Ryan’s family’s property, our trip to Cherokee Marsh on Madison’s northside was his first time on the water in a kayak. Gill waddled around in the front of the sit-on kayak, peering into the water. We were worried that he might topple over the kayak’s edge, so Rebecca kept pulling him back to the middle.
Ryan dipped Gill in the water, giving him a taste for swimming and cooling him so he wouldn’t overheat in the late-day sun. Gill trembled afterward, either nervous or chilled, so Rebecca held him close to her chest. While Ryan cast for fish, Gill dozed for most of the trip, comforted in Rebecca’s arms.
We decided to try again the next day, this time on Lake Mendota. I was a bit anxious to take a tiny 6-pound puppy on such a big lake, but we lucked out—with no wind, the lake was like glass and, being a weekday, boat traffic was minimal. Gill seemed more relaxed this trip. Rebecca and Ryan gave him a few dips in the water, and he didn’t seem to mind. He drank water from his bowl, gnawed on his miniature bone and napped while we explored the lakeshore south of Governor Nelson State Park.
Gill may never swim like a fish, despite his name, but he appears to love the outdoors and tolerates our explorations on the water, as long as he’s close to his “mom”! He’s a sweet puppy, and we look forward to him accompanying us on many more kayaking adventures.